There is a lot of advice out there for clients and how they can better communicate with their contractors, but communication is a two-way street and as such it is also important that as a contractor you also follow better communication steps.
Miscommunication can be expensive and cause a lot of bad feelings in your client towards you, so it is important to be as communicative as possible in order to prevent this. Following a few key points can lead to a healthy working relationship between you and your client.
SCHEDULE TIME TO TALK
Scheduling times to talk is important, especially at the beginning of a project, so that you can communicate to the client your plans and they in turn can offer their own thoughts on the project. This is also a good time to help ease any concerns they may have and talk about the specifics of the project.
It is also very important to be available to talk to your client throughout the work. There is nothing more frustrating than having a backlog of irritated voicemails that have built up without you realising, so communicating specific times to your client when you are available to receive these phone calls is important. It means you don’t look as if you are ignoring their calls and that you don’t feel overwhelmed with a barrage of missed calls on a daily basis.
As much as your client can outline what they expect from you, it is also important that you yourself are clear on what you expect in the work environment. Safety is paramount on any project and you should state this explicitly, it is a non-negotiable aspect of the work and not a ‘cost cutting’ so you should make them aware of this up front.
A structured timeline is a great way to demystify the work you are doing, erase any unrealistic expectations on the side of the client and show just what work you are doing at what time so your client is in the know. A timeline protects you and your workers and stops complaints of slow work from the outset. If you’re working to an agreed timeline then there can be no discrepancies.
A client can sometimes become frustrated with a lack of progress, even when it is being made. A lack of communication can make them assume that nothing is being done and so that’s why there are no updates; it is important to make sure that they know that this is not the case and regular updates allow this. Transparency about a project protects you in the long run and so should be practiced at every opportunity.
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